March 24, 2011 by
We went to our first harambee the other day! Harambee is best translated in this context as fundraiser. Churches hold them when they need to purchase something for the ministry. It was an experience I doubt I will ever forget…
Orlando Ngenea Baptist Church is a village church about 40 minutes from our home. They have been a faithful church for years and have sent out from their congregation some of the most humble and faithful pastors in our ministry. They have been meeting on the property of a local school and even have a building on it, but have since been asked to relocate. In order to avoid losing members, most of whom walk from the surrounding area, they have decided to purchase a piece of land right next to the school. Providing an occasion for a harambee.
Abby and I had been trying to visit the church for a few weeks, and after having to cancel one trip, God brought us there on the day of the fundraiser. I was asked to speak on giving (a hard enough task in your own culture, yet alone cross-culturally). Another missionary gave me some great advice and I spoke on bits of 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9—a humbling example of a region of poor churches who give extravagantly to help others in need. God blesses generosity with an “abundance of joy!”
And joy is what we saw that day. People arrived at the small church with chickens, all kinds of produce, a rabbit, and a sheep. After the service there was a fun little ceremony with food and gifts, none of which were free 🙂 (this is a fundraiser). Then came the auction to sell everything people brought.
People from surrounding churches came to support. Everyone gave generously and God worked in a mighty way. The church needed to raise around $3,000, which was an impossible task for the village congregation.
If you even had a job out there, you would only make a few dollars a day. Still, with the help of all the visitors who came and a couple anonymous gifts, the churched raised everything that they needed. Praise God!!!
Abby and I supported through buying some of the auction items. We went home with some sugar cane, a live chicken, and about 200 lbs. of maize (We donated the maize to the school rather than eating ugali every day for the next year 🙂
I gave Jackson my Bible when I found
out he didn’t have one.